How Titans Can Become Targets for Paper Tigers in Politics and in Sport

It was not surprising  that while Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was eagerly congratulating Commonwealth Games Gold winner Nicholas Paul on his “ tremendous achievement” on July 30, the esteemed Professor Selwyn Cudjoe was criticising the PM for  his love of Golf.

“It might have been that Rowley was working very hard to solve the crime problem and needed a break from his office duties”, the US-based lecturer pontificated in the Sunday Express of July 31, 2022.

According to the professor:

“But it was difficult to countenance such a divergence, on a work day, especially in light of the fact that Trinidad and Tobago, in his words, is “a violent society” teetering on the brink of social breakdown and violent crime is a “public health hazard”.

Being one of those rare, lonely titans  toiling in the same realmAs Paul and Roger Gibbon who won the same honours for T+T as far back 26 years ago, Rowley can casually flick away Cudjoe’s outtah timing comment  like water off the proverbial duck’s back.

It’s easy to criticise the winner. It’s a cinch for someone to claim he’s coming from his years of hard work ”on the ground” in the communities he speaks of.

But it’s a question of chalk and cheese to compare two Doctors of Politics  where one is a shining star of solid achievement – a game-changer, if you will – while the other walks around with a full bag of hot air, ready to burst out into the big fart or blow-hard that many have made Cudjoe  out to be.

Like former People’s National Movement (PNM) and People’s Partnership (PP) minister Ralph Maharaj – who doesn’t seem to have learned much from his own vast political experience –Cudjoe lives off the droppings of Rowley and others of his ilk.

It’s here, with all the rest of hungry crabs fighting for survival at the bottom of the social barrel that he picks up scraps of info, which he applies as  intelligence to be used as gospel in his sermons from Mount Wellesley, USA.

In both sport and politics, a significant number of titans have crossed this punishing landscape where people have sought to make their mark.

Coming down the line from Butler to Cipriani to  Adrian Cola Rienzi, George Weekes, CLR James, Makandal Daaga, Khafra Kambon, Winston Lennard, Wayne Davis, Michael Als, Basdeo Panday, David Mohammed, APT James, ANR Robinson, Eric Williams and Keith Rowley : all these men have served with distinction.

Among the women are Joan Yuille-Williams, Isabel Teshea, Kamla Persad-Bisessar,  Karen Nunez Tishiera, Jean Elder, Pamela Nicholson and Elmina Clarke-Alleyne.

Which brings us face to face with a major problem affecting our own current reality as a people, namely that we like to applaud and congratulate our front runners but we are quick to pull our heads back  when the going gets tough and they need us most.

If we can change this and stay with our champions in the best and worst of times, then it’s most likely that we shall find even more titans flourishing in the mould of Roger Gibbon, Nicholas Paul, Hasely Crawford, Ato Boldon and  Keith Rowley than we we are seeing today.

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